ABDUL HADI, MAHDI (1944-)

Chairman of Passia

Born in Nablus in 1944; son of Fu’ad Abdul Hadi; spent his early childhood in Jaffa, from where his family fled during the 1948 Nakba, becoming refugees in Lebanon, where he attended St. Joseph’s School in Junieh, Beirut; grew up – after the family returned to Palestine in 1950 – in Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron and Jerusalem, where his father served as a judge; was enrolled at several schools, incl. the Friend’s Boys School in Ramallah and the Rashidiyeh School in Jerusalem; was arrested by the Jordanian authorities for setting up an Pan-Arab student union in Jerusalem and detained for one month; was released and completed his secondary school (tawjihi) in Cairo in 1963; returned to Jerusalem and worked as a clerk in the Jerusalem District Court until 1965; went to Syria to study at the School of Law at Damascus University, graduating with a BA in 1970; did not practice law because of the Lawyers’ Strike in protest of the Israeli occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem; co-founder (with Yousef Nasser), and editor of Al-Fajr daily newspaper from 1972-74; left the paper to write two books (one on The Palestine Question and Peaceful Solutions 1934-1977, Sidon, 1977; and The Evolution of the Arab Flag, Amman, 1977);  established the Nadi Al-Ghad Youth Club in Jerusalem in 1973 and was elected as its Chairman (serving until 1974); set up the Public Relations office at Birzeit University in 1977; co-founder and Sec.-Gen. of the Council for Higher Education in the West Bank from 1977-80; founder and elected Pres. of the Arab Thought Forum in Jerusalem from 1977-81; author of the first book on Israeli Settlements in Occupied Jerusalem & West Bank in 1977, continued his studies and earned a PhD from the School of Peace Studies at Bradford University, UK (1984); became a member of the Jordanian-Palestinian Joint Committee and special advisor to the Ministry of Occupied Land Affairs in Amman, Jordan, from 1985-86; fellow of the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University (1985) and of the Salzburg International Seminar (1986); returned to Jerusalem and founded the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) in March 1987; serves as its elected Chairman since; member of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace negotiations/multilateral working group on refugees in the early 1990s; member of several Palestinian organizations, incl. the Jerusalem Arab Council headed by Faisal Husseini (1992), the Palestinian Council for Justice and Peace in Ramallah (1994), the Association of Palestinian Policy Research Institutes (APPRI); (founding) member of several regional and international organizations, incl. the Black Sea University Foundation in Bucharest (1990); the Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission (EuroMeSCo), headquartered in Lisbon (1994), the Arab Social Science Research Network (ASSR) in Beirut (1996), and the Arab Group for Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Beirut (2000); in July 2006, was awarded the civilian decoration (medal) of Commander in the Order of the Crown by King Albert II of Belgium for services rendered to the Belgium-Palestinian relations and his lasting commitment to the cause of peace and justice; author of numerous articles, monographs, and essays and editor of many publications, incl. 100 Years of Palestinian History, A 20th Century Chronology (PASSIA, 2001), and Palestinian Personalities, A Biographic Dictionary (PASSIA, 2005).